What is it?
Glutathione is an antioxidant that your body’s cells produce naturally for their own good—it’s vital to keeping them healthy. It fills four primary functions: 1) battles free radicals; 2) keeps cells robust; 3) removes toxins in the body; and 4) strengthens the immune system.
People with oxidative-stress-related diseases—Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, cardiovascular issues and more—tend to have low glutathione, and as we age, our glutathione levels naturally diminish. Toxins, medications and pollution also zap glutathione levels, while a plant-heavy diet can raise them slightly.
Use it for
Improving cell function, boosting immunity, detoxifying the body, protecting against certain chronic diseases.
Glutathione’s pivotal role in cell health is unquestioned. But until recently, researchers believed the body didn’t absorb oral supplements. More recent studies, however, including groundbreaking research out of Japan in 2014, found that perhaps scientists were just looking in the wrong places. When researchers tested for glutathione bound to proteins or distributed throughout body tissues versus just unbound in the blood, they found that oral supplements did increase glutathione levels. More research is needed to determine the exact benefits of taking glutathione, but initial studies suggest it may reduce oxidative stress, improve immune function, fight various diseases such as cancer and Parkinson’s, and increase muscle endurance. Some recent studies even indicate glutathione could reduce the severity of COVID-19 symptoms, especially when taken with N-acetylcysteine (NAC), a glutathione precursor.
How to take it
The most common recommended dose of oral glutathione (capsules or liquid) is 500 to 1,000 mg daily. One caveat: Long-term glutathione supplementation could diminish zinc levels.
*Be aware! Glutathione generally does not cause side effects, but some people experience GI distress or an allergic reaction.